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16 Nov 2005 : Column 1224W—continued

Classic Aircraft (Insurance)

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of recent regulatory change on insurance costs for classic aircraft. [27312]

Ms Buck: Regulation (EC) No 785/2004 on insurance requirements for air carriers and aircraft operators, which came into effect on 1 May 2005, imposes minimum passenger and third party insurance requirements on all aircraft according to weight. During the process of adoption of the regulation in the European institutions, the Department for Transport submitted a partial regulatory impact assessment to the Commons European Scrutiny Committee, informing it that the regulation would impose a regulatory burden on aircraft operators. No further assessment of the effect of the regulation on the cost of insurance for aircraft operators has been made, but some heavy historic aircraft have had to increase their insurance levels in relation to third party liability. The insurance industry has recognised the problem and sought to make premia affordable.

Commercial Aviation (Duty Hours)

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions the Civil Aviation Authority has (a) issued warnings to and (b) made findings against (i) pilots and (ii) flight crew in respect of breaches of the annual limit for duty hours for commercial aviation, in the last year for which figures are available. [27688]

Ms Buck: UK airlines are required to have a flight and duty time limitation scheme approved by the Civil Aviation Authority and to take all reasonable steps to ensure that all members of their flight crew comply with the scheme. Such schemes have to include the statutory annual flight duty time limit imposed on individual members of flight crew. Flight time limitation schemes are designed to ensure that flight crew do not exceed annual duty time limits and breaches of the limits are few. The CAA does not keep a central record of breaches of duty time limits, but does audit operators records on a regular basis and, if required, ensures that changes to working patterns are instituted.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the annual limit is for duty hours for commercial aviation (a) pilots and (b) flight crew under the EU Flight Time Limitations. [27899]

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Ms Buck: There is currently no EC legislation establishing detailed flight time limitations for the flight crew of commercial aircraft. However, draft legislation on airline operational standards under consideration by the EC includes flight and duty time limitations and rest requirements. This legislation will impose an annual limit on flight duty time of 900 hours (pilots and flight crew). In addition Council Directive 2000/79/EC, which implements an industry agreement on working time for mobile staff in civil aviation (pilots and flight crew), establishes a limit of 2,000 hours for total duty time and a limit of 900 hours for flight duty time.

Departmental Estate

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the buildings owned by his Department; and what the purpose is of each one. [25632]

Ms Buck: The information requested has been placed in the Libraries of the House, but information on the Highways Agency motorway maintenance depots and associated buildings can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Staff (Literacy and Numeracy)

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what methods of assessment of (a) literacy and (b) numeracy skills are used as part of the recruitment process by employees of his Department. [23796]

Ms Buck: As outlined in my answer of 27 October 2005, Official Report, column 503W, the Department for Transport operates competency based recruitment.

If written and or/numerical skills are required for a particular position candidates are required to provide evidence, in their application forms, of what they have achieved using these skills. They are then questioned more about this in interview. If appropriate for the post, a test may be used, which is conducted by a trained assessor.

Occasionally recruitment is by assessment centre, in which candidates undergo a number of work-type exercises, testing, among other skills, both writing and numeracy, as appropriate for the position.

Departmental Targets

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many targets have been set in each year since 1997 by the Department; and which have been (a) met, (b) nearly met, (c) not met, (d) changed and (e) dropped in each year. [26756]

Ms Buck: The Department for Transport was formed in May 2002 and the targets applicable at the time were the public service agreement (PSA) targets set in the 2000 Spending Review. A new set of PSA targets was agreed in subsequent Spending Reviews in 2002 and 2004.

Performance against all PSA targets is reported in the Department's Annual Report and Autumn Performance Report. These also show how targets have evolved between Spending Reviews. In addition, performance is reported on the Department's website.
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Fuel Efficiency Labels

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps are taken to ensure that fuel efficiency labels produced in accordance with European Directive 1999/94/EC accurately reflect vehicle carbon dioxide emissions produced under normal road use. [29352]

Dr. Ladyman: European Directive 1999/94/EC requires car fuel consumption and carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions information to be provided to consumers by means of labels and other media. The figures used are obtained by testing new vehicles to the ED fuel consumption/CO 2 driving procedure on a chassis-dynamometer (rolling-road). This standardised procedure is aimed at providing prospective new car buyers with a simple comparison of the relative efficiency of new vehicles. By its very nature it cannot anticipate the fuel consumption and C0 2 emissions that will be achieved by any particular motorist under any conditions of use. Fuel consumption on the road is significantly affected by many factors, especially driving style, traffic and road conditions, load carried, terrain, and the use of heaters, air conditioning and lights. It is therefore impossible to provide a single fuel consumption and, hence, CO 2 figure that is representative for all road users.

Gershon Review

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how the Department is implementing the recommendations of the Gershon Review; and what savings have been made as a result. [28077]

Ms Buck: The Secretary of State has established an efficiency programme to implement the recommendations of the Gershon Review. The Department has published an efficiency technical note on its website which gives more detailed information on the programme. A revised version of the efficiency technical note will be published by the end of November 2005.

Progress was reported in Budget 2005 and in the departmental annual reports. Further progress will be reported in the autumn performance reports and at aggregate level in the pre-budget report.

Humber Bridge

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the amount of debt on the Humber Bridge was in each year since its opening; and what rate of interest was paid on the debt in each year. [24771]

Dr. Ladyman: The debt on the Humber Bridge since its opening and the rate of interest paid are as follows:
Debt (not including loans from Public Works and Loan Board (PWLB))

Debt (£)
Average yearly interest rate (percentage)

(1) The debt would have risen to £650 million by March 1997 without Government assistance (mainly the payment of grants of £40 million plus a year, paid under the Appropriation Acts, to cover un-met interest charges).

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PWLB loans


On 1 July 1997 the Department signed a new loan agreement with the Humber Bridge board. This agreement was then subject to a parliamentary order under the Humber Bridge (Debts) Act 1996. This agreement and the Humber Bridge (Debts) Order 1998 (which came into force 19 August 1997) made the following provisions for the Humber Bridge debt:

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Since that time, the following applies to the Humber Bridge debt:
Total debt (£)Active debt (£)Interest rate on active debt (percentage)

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